Restoring firearm rights in Washington state
The statute that controls restoring gun rights in Washington state is RCW 9.41.040(4)(a).
Restoring Washington state firearm rights after a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor conviction
If you lost your gun rights due to a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor conviction, you are eligible to restore your firearm rights if:
- Your conviction is not for a felony sex offense (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)); and
- Your conviction is not for a felony that is defined under any law as a class A felony or has a maximum sentence of at least twenty years (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)); and
- You do not have any pending charges in any state or federal court (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(A)); and
- You have gone at least five consecutive years in the community without being convicted of a new disqualifying crime (felony), or three years (domestic violence misdemeanor) (RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(A)); and
- You have no prior felony convictions counted as part of your offender score under RCW 9.94A.525 (other than the one that is currently disqualifying you from possessing firearms); RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(A); and
- If convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, you have completed all conditions of your sentence. RCW 9.41.040(4)(a)(ii)(B). This condition does not apply if convicted of a felony.
Restoring gun rights in Washington state after an involuntary commitment for mental health treatment
Not possible at this time.
Restoring Washington state firearm rights due a protection order
If you lost your firearm rights due to being a restrained party to a protection order, you must ask the issuing court to terminate the protection order. The prohibition on guns disappears once the court removes the order.
Procedure for restoring gun rights in Washington state
To restore your gun rights, you must file a petition for restoration in the sentencing court or the superior court of the county where you reside. Washington state gun rights are never automatically restored.
If you have a conviction for an offense that prohibits you from possessing guns, and you later pick up another conviction for an offense that does not prohibit you from possessing guns, the five or three year waiting period starts from the offense date of the first disqualifying offense. The intervening new conviction does not restart the waiting period.
Benefits of restoring Washington state gun rights
Restoring firearm rights allows you to own and possess firearms under Washington state law, including the ability to apply for and receive a concealed pistol license.
Expungement not necessary
Expunging a conviction is not a prerequisite to restoring your Washington state gun rights. Thus, you could have a conviction that cannot be expunged and still restore your gun rights so long as you meet the requirements above.
Restoring federal firearm rights
Federal law does not consider a felony conviction as disqualifying for federal firearms purposes if you’ve had your firearm rights restored by the sentencing jurisdiction. Thus, when you restore your firearm rights in Washington state, your federal firearm rights are automatically restored. 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20).
The federal government does not consider a domestic violence assault misdemeanor conviction that occurred under Washington state law as prohibiting firearms possession under federal law.
If you lost your federal firearm rights due to being a restrained party to a protection order, you must ask the issuing court to terminate the protection order. The prohibition on firearms disappears once the court removes the order.
You cannot restore your gun rights if you were convicted in federal court.